Video games are always a challenge, but some are more difficult to beat than others. The classic Mario platformers were never particularly tough to beat, while some titles like Kirby’s Dream Land were beyond easy.

Other games have difficult missions or levels interspersed between easier ones, such as the GTA Vice City’s “Demolition Man”, which required you to fly an RC helicopter around a building to plant explosives, while the mission “Death Row” sees you single-handedly take on a whole platoon of goons to rescue Lance Vance. Both will have almost certainly seen you throw your controller in frustration on several occasions.

Sometimes, the difficultly stretches right across the game, creating a huge challenge for those players who want to beat it or their opponents. Here are some of those classic games that are a real challenge.


Poker is an umbrella term for several dozen card games that share many of the same characteristics. The most common variant is Texas hold ‘em, though others like five-card draw and razz are also very popular.

For beginners, learning the basics of poker is pretty simple. You need to understand the different hand values, the mechanics of the betting rounds, and certain poker-specific words and phrases like “flop” and “blind”.

However, the more you play poker, the more you’ll come to realise that there are complex elements to the game that you will spend countless hours trying to master. One of these is reading poker hands, this doesn’t refer to understanding the value of the cards you hold but using the process of elimination to deduce what your opponents are holding.


Chess is another ancient game that’s enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Like poker, it is relatively simple to pick up the basics, including the value of the pieces and how each one can move.

It is very much an “intellectual game”, with some people dedicating their entire lives to learning different strategies and how they can be countered. Even Grand Masters, who are considered to be the best of the best chess players in the world haven’t truly perfected the game as there are simply so many different approaches that can be taken in each game.


Driver is a 3D driving game released originally for the PlayStation and PC in 1999. On the surface, the premise is pretty simple, you play an undercover cop who acts as a wheelman for various criminals and gangs that leave messages on your voicemail. Most of the game’s missions involve you going from point A to point B, evading pursuing police patrols, or trying to damage a target’s car.

All of that would be pretty simple if it wasn’t for the strict time limits placed on almost every mission. The developers wanted to create a challenge for players so they would feel like they’d earned a victory and they definitely achieved their aim.

When you do manage to beat a particular level, it was often only by the skin of your teeth. Even more than 20 years on, you can always find room for improvement in Driver. Better control of your powerslides, more accurate braking, and faster reactions will help shave off valuable seconds when you’re against the clock.

Flappy Bird

On the surface, Flappy Bird is the simplest of games. You’re only required to do one thing, tap the screen to make your bird rise. Getting the right height allows you to avoid the obstacles that appear on the screen you move along.

Despite the pretty primitive premise, Flappy Bird is infuriatingly difficult. When you start out, you’ll find your bird flying head-first into the Mario-esque green pipes at an alarming frequency.

Over time, though, you’ll get a better feel for the game and become more used to when you need to press the button and when you need to let go. You will not, however, perfect it. You might have a great run and achieve a new high score, but then struggle for hours afterwards.


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